Judicial independence – Sultan Azlan Shah’s “disquiet” only that of one person?

In my Open Letter to Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim last Tuesday to act in the national interest to restore public confidence in the judiciary by withdrawing his controversial application for a six-month extension, I had quoted extensively from former Lord President, Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s April 2004 postscript to his book “Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance” over the “disquiet” at the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary over the previous few years.

I had said that Sultan Azlan Shah’s “critique of the parlous state of the judiciary is even more pertinent today than when he wrote it in April 2004, with the entire period falling under your (Ahmad Fairuz) term as Chief Justice — a powerful reason why Tun should avert a constitutional crisis and a new crisis of confidence over the judiciary over the controversial application for a six-month extension.”

This has been confirmed by Sultan Azlan Shah In his opening speech at the 14th Malaysia Law Conference yesterday, as he said:

Sadly I must acknowledge there has been some disquiet about our judiciary over the past few years and in the more recent past. In 2004, I had stated that it grieved me, having been a member of the judiciary, whenever I heard allegations against the judiciary and the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary.

Recently there have been even more disturbing events relating to the judiciary reported in the press. We have also witnessed the unprecedented act of a former Court of Appeal judge writing in his post-retirement book of erroneous and questionable judgements delivered by our higher courts in a chapter under the heading “When Justice is Not Administered According to Law”. There are other serious criticisms.

I am driven nostalgically to look back to a time when our Judiciary was the pride of the region, and our neighbours spoke admiringly of our legal system. We were then second to none and the judgements of our courts were quoted confidently in other common law jurisdictions. As Tun Suffian, a former Lord President of the then Federal Court, said of the local judges who took over from the expatriate judges after Merdeka that the transformation was without “any reduction in standards”.

Admittedly society is more complex today and the task of judges may be more difficult then what it was before, but the values I speak of are universal and eternal.

There is no reason why judges with the assured security of tenure they enjoy under the Constitution should not discharge their duties impartially, confidently and competently.

Will the de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz dismiss Sultan Azlan Shah’s increasing “disquiet” about the crisis of confidence in the judiciary as a “false” perception and baseless allegation of one person, in the way he dismissed the concern of Malaysian Bar on the ground that it is no “big deal” as only 1,000 out of 13,000 lawyers or 26 million Malaysians had taken part in the “Walk for Justice” to the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya?

  1. #1 by Libra2 on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 10:38 am

    Even if I tell Nazri that the earth is round, he will say it is the view of one person and insist that it is flat. This fellow is incorrigible, stubborn, arrogant and swollen headed.

  2. #2 by YY88 on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 11:32 am

    Nazri is really really confused. He doesn’t even know which is his left, which is his right hand. He doesn’t even know whether he eats with his asshole or mouth. He doesn’t even know whether it was his mum or his dad that gave birth to him. He has to be educated, rehabilitated or reformed.

  3. #3 by Godfather on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 12:46 pm

    Taxi Nazri only knows one thing – to protect the interests of the den of thieves.

  4. #4 by lbn on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 12:48 pm

    Don’t waste time on Nazri. Let us face reality otherwise we would not be in this sorrowful state. Now is the time to exercise our rights to vote in this GE!

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 1:05 pm

    “There is no reason why judges with the assured security of tenure they enjoy under the Constitution should not discharge their duties impartially, confidently and competently” – Sultan Azlan Shah.

    With respect, security of tenure is not synonymous with having power and money. One way to corrupt a judge is to give him promotion over others if he plays ball. If he does not, ostracise him within the judicial circle; asign to him more than his share of work and make it is the difficult one. If he snitches (as Syed Idid did) get the patrons in power to force him to resign. Another way to corrupt the judge is when he makes a “deal” with litigants where in consideration of a cash sum of money paid through proxy trusted by the judge (or better still though offshore trust acount) he would give a decision acording to the one who paid. It is quite easy to do so because the law vests immense discretionary powers on the judge when he interprets the law. The facts may be selectively attached importance depending on how he wants to spin the case. Just have to say I’ve heard this evidence and that evidence and I believe this one. The superior judge must make sure he appoints those who will cooperate with him. This is because cases are sometimes heard by 2 or 3 judges, and sometimes they discuss cases amongst themselves, so a corrupt superior judge can influence them in discussions – let them know where one leans. Another way to corrupt a judge post is in the area of post retirement posting. Make sure you promise and get political patrons to give him, in retirement, a plump job as chairman or director in some politically affiliated corporations : give him an ESOS thrown in and a fat salary (‘buta money’) for doing nothing and yet have all perks like cars house allowances pension etc. If he ever get compromised for corruption or bribes, make sure you give all official protection so that he never would have to acount or or go to jail.

    It is so easy. Whether judge, civil servant etc can be bribed this way. Malaysia Boleh! :)

  6. #7 by mwt on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 1:45 pm

    The Sultan may have given his piece but in the keynote address at the dinner, PM Abdullah is only paying lip service to the Bar & the Nation. He slammed the Bar for the irresponsible action in taking the Walk and in the process gave the Nation a bad image (if there is any left after all the expose and scandals). When the PM spoke to the 5000 Chinese community he talks of the noble “principle of power sharing” and “there won’t be progress in the country if all spheres are dominated by a single ethnic community” Yet the Policies are implemented otherwise
    He gave a lot of verbal expression of agreement or allegiance but all unsupported by real conviction or action; hypocritical respect. Lip service continues to be paid to resolving country’s conflicts, and there is no sense of urgency. The Ministers are given a free reign and the latest is the keris wielding man saying he is going to do it again in the next UMNO meet.. More details at:

  7. #8 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 1:59 pm

    Nazri is increasingly “Nazi-istic”. He thinks his ‘one-vote and one-voice is a majority”.

    God, I wouldn’t want him near me lest he fouls the air I breathe.

  8. #9 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 2:03 pm

    AAB is “this-quiet” and is certainly barking up the wrong tree by taking issue with the Bar Council’s stand.

    Hello, Pak Lah, are you alright? Whither has your integrity gone? May your Allah help you at this time when your credibility has plunged to historic lows whilst the nation’s institutions share similar values as the pigs in Animal Farm..

  9. #10 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 2:42 pm

    When there are “little godfathers and Napoleons” aplenty protecting their gangs of thieves and securing their self-interests, then all “constructive engagements” and dialogues will be futile e.g Nazri’s case. It is only when they have a genuine fear of losing everything will they open a crack in their doors e.g. the Burmese generals. Else, nothing will make them change their stance. You can throw everything including the kitchen sink and bath at them and you will achieve nothing. You need to locate their weak points.

  10. #11 by sotong on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 2:56 pm

    To some politicians, including leaders, not fixing the problems/weaknesses is an advantage to them by exploiting and taking advatange of its weaknesses.

  11. #12 by UnkerLai on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 3:28 pm

    Again, they choose to shoot the messenger, putting down the Bar for walking, where the message is conveniently forgotten.
    It is because of his inelegant silence and taxi nazi’s arrogant denials, that the Walk was organized in the first place.

  12. #13 by Libra2 on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 4:47 pm

    Abdullah’s version of power sharing is UMNO 96%, Chinese 2%, Indians 1% and others 1%.

  13. #14 by dawsheng on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 5:23 pm

    “Admittedly society is more complex today and the task of judges may be more difficult then what it was before, but the values I speak of are universal and eternal.”

    This is definitely true. Just like corruption, it is eternal too! The values runs into billions of ringgit and judges got rich on the way. Society is more complex today but in Malaysia society has become even more corrupt. The truth is out, it is today we make the change!

  14. #15 by ADAM YONG IBNI ABDULLAH on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 5:26 pm

    Sometime back, there was this mohamad son of mohamad that made a police report aginst malaysia today ‘s Raja Petra for insulting the King. within one week , petra was called to the police station for investigation. within a month, marina ( petra ‘s wife ) was called for further investigation.

    Now, if this insult of HrH Sultan Azlan Shah ,by nontheless the de facto minister and premier, we can lodge one hundred police reports, but NO ACTIONS will be taken.

    nevertheless , we who love Malaysia more than barisan nasional is with HIS Majesty and those who upheod TRuth and Fairness and Justice.

  15. #16 by devilmaster on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 8:26 pm

    Kudos to Uncle Kit.

    You asked a good question in Parliament today. Namewee’s Youtube music clip is not authenticated too. Why there is so much fuss made against this young boy?

    In addition, i would like to say, Namewee is not doing to destroy the nation with his Negarakuku song, but Ahmad Fairuz certainly will.

  16. #17 by grace on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 9:10 pm

    With the likes ofNazri appointed as Ministers, Malaysia definitelycannot progress.

  17. #18 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 10:27 pm

    “There is no reason why judges with the assured security of tenure they enjoy under the Constitution should not discharge their duties impartially, confidently and competently.”

    Respectfully, here I think Sultan Azlan Shah seems to have missed the point.

    When judges are promoted based on their personal connections more than on grounds of merit, it is not ‘security of tenure’ that is relevant when we address issues like independence affecting the judiciary. The Japanese call it ‘giri’ – a debt unless repaid will forever keep the person who owes the debt in bondage.Judges tend to make decisions influenced by the connections the litigants and lawyers have to their common political masters. Issues like ‘security of tenure’ meant to protect judges from interferance by the members of the executive branch has less relevance.

    When the head of the judicial branch could be booted out by the head of the executive, it sends a clear message which resonates to this day. The message is “It does not pay to mess around with the government of the day”. Security of tenure? What security of tenure??

  18. #19 by greenacre on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - 10:48 pm

    I remember the place and time ..Queensland..14 years .ago..A very senior judge was called up by a tribunal after receiving many complaints.
    Tribunal: You are a very senior judge ?
    Judge: Yes my lord
    Tribunal: In the past we had no such complaints made against you.
    Judge: That is true my lord.
    Tribunal: Do you have any explanation for the sudden surge of complaints against you?
    Judge: I believe it must be due to my failing eyesight!
    Tribunal: What has your failing eyesight got to do with your judicial decisions?
    Judge: I couldn’t see the dice clearly my lord.
    Tribunal: ..and how on earth a dice could affect your judgment?
    Judge: Well..Well on that dices that i throw I have written the word yes or no and accordingly I pronounce my judgment and lately I could not see which is which!
    Note:Not really the actual material that I have read then but closely resembles. It’s s DICE then!

  19. #20 by pwcheng on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 1:34 am

    I think our sleepy head is a trained hypocrite and he talks without any coviction. “A third class leader in a first mansion in Putrajaya”.

  20. #21 by pwcheng on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 1:52 am

    “A third class leader in a first class Mansion in Putrajaya”.

  21. #22 by k1980 on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 8:07 am

    “No matter how chauvinistic a Malay leader was 50 years ago, never once in the run-up to independent Malaya did the leader ask for the repatriation of non-Malays…There is no constitutional reason why the Malay majority should have a superiority complex, and the non-Malay minority an inferiority complex. All Malaysians are entitled to be treated as Malaysians under the constitution. That sums up the social contract.”

  22. #23 by k1980 on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 9:43 am

    The country’s judiciary is increasingly corrupt, says Perak’s Azlan Shah. In an almost unprecedented speech, Malaysia’s Sultan of Perak, Azlan Shah, one of the country’ s most respected figures, has hit out at the country’s increasingly tainted judicial system. “We must be ever mindful that written constitutions are mere parchment pieces,” he told a law conference in Kuala Lumpur Monday. “Without a reputable judiciary ‑ a judiciary endowed and equipped with all the attributes of real independence ‑ there cannot be the rule of law…Countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, who have a similar legal system and who share similar laws, and whose judges and lawyers are trained as ours, are ranked in these surveys as amongst the best in the world (Hong Kong is placed first and Singapore ranks fourth). The reason is obvious: these countries have undertaken major reforms in their court structure and procedures and have introduced more efficient and transparent commercial courts so as to attract the foreign investor.”

  23. #24 by Jimm on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 10:54 am

    It’s UMNO that cheats on Malays by painting the Ketuanan dreams which shortchanged every Malaysian except ELITE group.
    And with the network of professional supports , they always put up a mega road shows that influenced locals into believing in the government actions and planning. Anyway, it’s the weakness of the Malays character and mindset which carefully ‘nourished’ by UMNO ELITE group that leads to the destruction of the Malays Royal Culture. What a shame ?

  24. #25 by akarmalaysian on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 12:01 pm

    lets forget what this brainless and good for nothing nazri has to say or what hes gonna say.whatever comes out fr his mouth is jz plain bull taik and as we knw hes among the most low life minister in the cabinet today.as far as our judiciary is concerned we all knw that its been that dirty all these years.so what can we do abt it?thats whr all these lawyers come marching down the street.why?plain simple…enough is enough.the laws can be bought over…needless to say abt the judges.thats how things work in Malaysia.only those involved wud deny them.its as simple as that.nobody is superior than anyone in Malaysia and if some idiots are thinking that they are more superior than the other race…then its those ones you can see them in the UMNO assembly.a good leader doesnt hv to see colors.those who do are only hypocrites.and with all the sweet pledges involving billions of rinngit in mega projects we hv been hearing for the past week…god knows how much more these people fr the government are gonna korek and swindle the peoples money.only time will tell but by then its usual…all those filthy bus turds will eventually get away scot free and nothing can be done abt them.Malaysia as it is today…as always.

  25. #26 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 9:27 pm

    I can say that I have had the privilege of making the acquaintance and listening to the late Lord President, Tun Suffian, twice. I can say that i came away with a very clear impression and without any trace of doubt, this Tun was truly a learned man whose integrity is only equalled by his humility.

    I am quite certain some of the judges I have seen on the Bench do not even deserve to smell Tun’s fart, to put it emphatically; this present CJ is no exception. Lesser judges should be humble enough to begin to learn to be judicious judges because no one can sack the entire Bench. The process of renewal will be a long and arduous process, thanks again to Tun M, the other Tun at the other end of the spectrum whose contempt for the Rule of Law is undisguised.

    BTW, there is someone sitting on the Bench today who reminds me of the lofty values espoused by intrepid judges like Tun Suffian. He is none other than Datuk Hishammuddin, the HCJ who should have made it to the Federal Court but been sidelined because he is uncompromising and does not waver for filthy lucre, pomp or positions. Datuk Hishammudin, God bless you, Sir.

  26. #27 by AhPek on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 - 10:02 pm

    “In addition, i would like to say,Namewee is not going to destroy the nation with his Negarakuku song, but Ahmad Fairuz certainly will.”. Devilmaster.
    But then, devilmaster, Ahmad Fairuz can destroy this nation for all UMNOPUTRAS care as long as Ahmad Fairuz knows how to advance the cause of UMNOPUTRAS.

  27. #28 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 1 November 2007 - 12:08 am

    “I am quite certain some of the judges I have seen on the Bench do not even deserve to smell Tun’s fart…” ENDANGERED HORNBILL

    Fart??? Let’s not be too dramatic in our characterisation! How about this:

    “They don’t deserve to share the same room with the late Tun (with his wife Bunny by his side and camera on the other), and breathe the same air.”

  28. #29 by AhPek on Thursday, 1 November 2007 - 1:02 am

    I agree completely with Endangered Hornbill that the First Malaysian Lord President Tun Suffian is a towering Malaysian, a first class gentleman with great accomplishment in learning and scholarship as well as a man of wisdom.The Judiciary under his stewardship has been a magnificent one.

  29. #30 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 1 November 2007 - 4:35 am

    Yes, short in stature but a towering Malaysian – what some Malays refer to as “Melayu tiang”!

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